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Step 3: Set Your Goals
I hate the question "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
I also hate any alternative forms of this question.
In fact, just don't even say "five years."
You'll most likely get this answer: "I want to be like Carmen Sandiego. Traveling the world with a fabulous trench coat and fedora. I've been practicing my burglary skills, but figured maybe I can just be rich enough to hire henchman to do it for me. So, running an underground black market for valuable world treasures?"
Then here comes that damn question at the end of Chapter One. I've already written my obit. What more do you want from me, book?! "Write goals that include your personal and professional aspirations within a five year span." Then I'm asked to go through and write next to each goal whether it was a short-term goal (can be done within a year) or a long-term goal (can be done within 2 - 5 years).
No. Nope. No. The resistance is real. The resistance to think that far ahead was already there. Cole was the first person who started chipping away at my resistance.
Cole and I spoke about our mutual and individual goals together, mostly on walks around to purposefully get lost and find our way back home again. The mutual goals were fun daydreaming with a hint of strong possibility. Some of them we did attain. When we talked about our individual goals, we talked about how they might affect our lives. We mostly chatted about how to support each other in those goals. There were lots of questions of "How?" but the answers would be "We can figure it out. I'll be here to help you." Finally! I had a partner who was in my corner and not minimizing the secret things I wanted for my life.
When I came to this next assignment, it literally paralyzed me. I stared at the sheet for 15 minutes, maybe? (Time is strange right now.) If I wrote these goals down and started working on them, I would be doing it without Cole by my side. If I wrote the goals down, I would be acknowledging that I have to move on. That time moves on and that I need to fill my time with living. I would actively pulling myself out of the grief where I want to stay comfortable in the past. I have been rewinding and playing our conversations in my head because we were so close to moving forward with our futures together. I am stuck in the loop and it's nice to feel that kind of love again. I didn't want to make these new goals without him.
I wasn't getting anywhere. Instead, I wrote a letter to my future self five years from now. I would be 38 then. Two years older than when Cole passed away at 36. I would have moved passed his age of death, two year away from 40, and that was a sobering feeling. "Did you want to still be grieving as hard as you are right now at the age of 38? No. I couldn't do that to myself. So, what were things that 38-year old Simone could do to help 33-year old Simone? It's okay to pretend that Cole was physically still around. Remember, Simone with Cole still had individual goals and he would be there to help you. He was good about being there when you needed him."
And then I wrote my goals list as if he were sitting right next to me. We did enjoy the satisfaction of creating a list. Here's a sample of my list that was over 40 goals by the time I am 38:
It was easier. It became doable. Yes, I talked to Cole out loud about these. I felt better. It felt doable.
Though Cole and I won't be able to hit the mutual goals we wanted with each other, there is one that I feel confident about continuing to dream about for us - a beach house with an outdoor shower.
You wanna come?